Every March the biggest events of my childhood repeated themselves for about two weeks. My grandmother, affectionately known as "Nana", and her husband "Don", though not my grandfather by blood, he was the only one that I ever knew, would visit, our house was always their last stop of the long journey made back to Cleveland from their winter vacation, spent in south Florida.
My brother and I counted down the days, making marks through the boxes on the calendar as if to encourage their arrival date to come sooner to save yet another box from the shame of not being "the day". The night before, I always lie awake, restless, anxiously waiting for the morning to come.
"What time is it, Mom?" I would ask, in anticipation of the moment she would reply, "Time!" Off I would race, through the aisles of our small connivance store, across the long black parking lot, passing the tattered gas pumps, making the sharp right bounding down the stairs that led around the building, dodging the big oak tree that stood towering over the walkway, and finally, the last leg of my trek, running as fast as I could up the drive with my long sun-bleached blonde hair slapping me in the face as I went. Up the rungs of the front fence I would climb, to perch my slender, tan body atop the corner post, to wait, and wait to see their polished, gray Lincoln make the turn down our street. When I would see them, I would bounce to my feet on that post and scream as loud ad I could "They"re Here!" as I waved until my arm felt as if it would break right off. The car would stop at the faded blue mailbox with a small cloud of dust settling. Mom, Dad and my brother smiling and waving from the steps of the screen porch.
While Nana and Don were staying with us, the sound of our laughter could be heard in the living room long after time for us to have been in bed, Nana and Don urging for another 10 minutes as much as my brother and I.